Why believe in the sovereignty of God? Part 2

by: Roger Smalling

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Third Foundation: Reality is a product of God’s will

For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.  Psalm 33:9       

This answers the question, Where does reality come from?

 According to the Bible, all reality is a product of the divine decrees, established before the foundation of the world.

By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible. Hebrews 11:3

This verse can be translated as, By faith we understand that the epochs of time were established.

The events of history, good or bad, have taken place by the will of God. This includes the most important as well as the most insignificant events.  

You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created. Revelation 4:11

This affirmation is clear. All things owe their existence to God.

 Occasionally we read in the Gospels, ...this happened that the word might be fulfilled... This phrase says more than that prophet simply predicted the event. It says that the event took place to fulfill the decrees of Scripture. Normally, people involved in fulfilling these prophecies were unaware they were fulfilling anything.

In this we see the bottom-line principle behind the sovereignty of God: Reality is a product of the will of God. A prophecy is simply a declaration of that will. Reality obeys what God has commanded.

Prophecy therefore is more than divine foresight. It is a declaration of infallible divine intent. Here are several examples:

 In Matthew 21:1-4, Jesus told his disciples to look for a certain donkey in a village. Surely the owner was unaware of Zechariah’s prophecy concerning Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The entire incident illustrates the sovereignty of God in the sense that the prophecy was more than divine foresight. It was a divine arrangement. 

When the crowd came to capture Jesus in Gethsemane He said this occurred to fulfill the Scriptures.[i] In the texts that describe the arrest and crucifixion, it’s obvious that everything takes place according to a divine plan.

The Roman soldiers divided Christ’s garments to fulfill what was written by the prophet. These pagans were unaware they were fulfilling Scripture.

How does God know the future with certainty? Some suppose that God has a mental capacity, like a supreme fortune-teller, allowing him to peer in the future; as though He had a telescope through which to look down the corridor of time and examine coming events. Some teachers even assert that God forms his plans based on this discernment. This idea is called the Concept of Foreknowledge.

Many Christians believe this idea today. Yes, the word foreknowledge appears in Scripture. However, to interpret it strictly in terms of a passive divine observation is a defective approach. After all, Who created time? Did God create it? Or is time something God discovered by chance in the course of eternity?

If God created everything, then He also created time. And if He created time, He also ordained the events that occur in it. If we deny this, we are affirming that God created the universe without purpose, or without full comprehension of what He was creating.

The only sensible option left is the Scriptural teaching about sovereign Decrees. The foreknowledge of God is simply his own understanding of his purposes, which no power in the universe can change.

Fourth foundation: God owns everything 

During a Bible study, a woman asked, Who owns the earth, God or Satan? With all the wickedness going on, it looks like Satan!   What does Scripture teach?

Exodus 9:29   ...that you may know that the earth is the Lord's.

Exodus 19:5   ...for all the earth is Mine.

Deuteronomy 10:14   Indeed heaven and the highest heavens belong to the Lord your God, also the earth with all that is in it.

Job 41:11 Everything under heaven is Mine.

1Chronicles 29:11 Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, The power and the glory, The victory and the majesty; For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, And You are exalted as head over all.

 Psalm 89:11 The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours; The world and all its fullness, You have founded them.

Some imagine that when Adam fell into sin, God lost control of the earth. Note that all the above verses are post-fall, present tense. With Adam’s Fall, God lost nothing. The only loser was Adam.

Questions & Comments for Dr. Smalling